Autumn: The season for color, cooler weather

Published 2:41 pm Tuesday, September 19, 2023

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Fall is the season for all senses. The feel of cooler temperatures a long, hot summer. A warm, visually pleasing palate of reds, oranges, and brown. The taste of apple cider, apple butter, and pumpkin pie. The sound of crunching leaves underfoot.
Fall will arrive Saturday, however, forecasters say the trees will be slow to change colors and lose their leaves, putting the peak of color at mid to late October. And, the warm temperatures are forecast to hang around until October and November.
Like spring, fall is a season of transition, a reminder of the value of change, in this case from summer to winter. It is the season for football, sweaters, raking leaves, making apple butter, decorating with scarecrows, fodder shocks, and pumpkins. And, usually it the time of year when the flip the thermostat from cool to heat. It’s the season that’s sandwiched between a hot summer and chilly winter.
It’s also the season that signals days are getting shorter. Nighttime arrives earlier, temperatures begin to drop and most vegetative growth decreases. Squirrels began to prepare for the dearth of food that generally comes during the winter, gathering acorns and nuts and hiding them in the mulch,
Autumn is generally regarded as the end of the growing season. Also known as the harvest season, autumn ushers in a time of celebration for many farming cultures when they gathered in their crops.
So, after a hot summer, autumn is almost here. “Nothing gold can stay,” as the poet Robert Frost puts it. And now there is a rising drumroll of warning about winter infections and rising heating costs.
It’s time to get flu shots and in some cases, COVID boosters.
Autumn is more subtle than summer, less overdetermined. It is full of beginnings, too. Even for those who now have nothing to do with schools there is a sense of starting again – new books, new clothes, new thoughts; cooler, brisker air. Berries are food for wildlife – and then seeds on the ground, to grow into new plants next year. Leaves will return to Earth, and feed more trees. Hibernation is sleep, a conservation, and a promise. What feels like falling (pine cones, acorns, conkers, leaves) is also about starting again, a kind of – to use Alice Oswald’s words – falling awake. So yes, autumn is here. And that is cause for celebration.
It’s a season of fun and holidays – Halloween, Thanksgiving, fall festivals, bonfires, hiking in the woods, playing in the leaves, etc.
So, if necessary put on your sweater, and then join the fun.

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